From heavy circles to imperfections and blemishes, when it comes to our skin, it’s the little things that can make a big difference to our confidence levels.
Pimples, dark spots, and redness can really decrease our self-esteem, but at the same time, piling on layers of foundation can block pores and make our skin worse, plus, it’s time-consuming and doesn’t look the most natural.
Concealer is a beauty staple because it can be worn with foundation, or by itself and simply applied where needed.
Concealers come in multiple colors, tones, consistencies, and applications, with some providing a light satin finish and others suited to those who want full, matte coverage.
However, then comes our second challenge: finding one that’s cruelty-free!
If you’re anything like me, you won’t be prepared to compromise on your ethics, so it’s essential that your makeup is cruelty-free, and your concealer is no exception.
That’s why I decided to scour the web for the best cruelty-free concealers on the market, and, the great news is, some of the best concealers available right now happen to also be cruelty-free, so it’s a win-win!
The Top 3 Cruelty-Free Concealers Summarised
OUR TOP PICK
The reviews of NYX’s Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop concealer speak for themselves.
This full-coverage, matte concealer is perfect for brightening dark spots and concealing under-eye circles, and it’s specially designed for contouring.
So not only will it conceal imperfections, but it will also highlight and define when applied with other products from the Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop range.
I also really liked this product for its shades with yellow or green undertones - perfect for those with olive skin that struggle to find a concealer to match.
Not only this, but it’s super long-wearing.
It has a creamy consistency that offers all-day waterproof coverage that won’t budge, so you can even go from day to night without reapplying.
This concealer (see also oil free concealers here) is best applied in a dabbing motion with a blending sponge or a brush.
Oh, and did we mention the super affordable price?
Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop has everything you’d want in a concealer: it’s vegan, cruelty-free, and offers professional-standard coverage for a fraction of the price.
- Great multitasker: conceals and contours
- Brightening effect when applied under the eyes
- All-day waterproof, matte full-coverage to disguise imperfections
- Very affordable price point
- A little goes a long way
- Some of the colors come out a little darker than they appear in the tube
Milani’s conceal + perfect concealer is not only cruelty-free but it’s vegan, too.
If you’re looking for a full-coverage concealer to hide under-eye circles, blemishes, and skin discoloration, look no further - this highly-pigmented formula is not only water-resistant but it’s super long-wearing too: it’ll stay put for up to 12 hours - even withstanding sweat and oil.
The liquid formula is also enriched with vitamin E so it not only conceals but nourishes too, helping to replenish the skin’s moisture - particularly important if you suffer from dryness.
I love the fact that this concealer comes in 18 different shades and has a doe foot applicator which allows for a really precise application and a finish that’s free from creases.
- Vegan as well as cruelty-free
- Full coverage that lasts all day long
- Enriched with Vitamin E to nourish the skin
- Able to withstand sweat and oil
- Doe foot applicator for precision and crease-free finish
If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll know that sometimes mattifying concealers can dry your skin out further and do more harm than good.
The e.l.f Hydrating Camo concealer offers the best of both worlds as it’s a lightweight, full-coverage formula with a satin finish that resists flaking.
This concealer effortlessly covers dark circles, redness, and blemishes without looking “over-done,” so you can achieve that no-make-up-look while still getting the reassurance of full-coverage.
Apply using the doe-foot applicator or simply dab on with your fingers for a more natural look.
I really love the fact that e.l.f is 100% vegan and cruelty-free, and offers a great range of makeup that doesn’t cost the earth.
You’ll be glad to know that e.l.f products are also 100% free from phthalates, parabens, nonylphenol, ethoxylates, triclosan, triclocarban, and hydroquinone - so you’re only getting the stuff that’s good for your skin.
- Satin finish for a natural look
- Great for dry skin, and won’t flake away
- 100% vegan and cruelty-free
- Doe foot applicator for precise application
- 25 shades to choose from
- This can be quite difficult to blend due to the heavy formula
Urban Decay’s Stay Naked make-up range has been a frontrunner in the beauty world over the last few years, and their correcting full-coverage concealer doesn’t disappoint.
The great thing about this formula is that it corrects imperfections while blending effortlessly with your skin - so no creasing, caking, or settling into fine lines.
This lightweight formula can be built up for increased coverage and will correct hyperpigmentation, dark circles, and blemishes with a real-skin, matte-look finish that lasts up to 24 hours.
The 25 vegan, cruelty-free shades are designed to suit a wide range of skin undertones and overtones, and the flexible wave-tip applicator offers two different options for applying the product.
Use the curved side to apply more product or the precision tip for spot corrections and accessing the hard-to-reach under eye area.
Use this product in the traditional way, or go a few shades lighter and use it for contour and highlighting too.
- Wide range of colors that take into account undertone as well as skin tone
- Lightweight yet buildable for full coverage
- Blends effortlessly with real skin - no caking or creasing for a natural look
- Wave applicator for two different application options
- Long-lasting: up to 24 hours of matte coverage
- A little more expensive than your average concealer - but worth it
Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer is a pretty iconic product, with one sold every 12 seconds!
This concealer is great for all skin types, particularly mature skin, as this super-blendable formula will instantly brighten and give the skin a firmer, smoother, and more lifted look.
One of the great things about this product is that it doesn’t just cover imperfections, but it’s also designed with ingredients that will benefit the skin.
Such as, shea butter, which is a natural skin emollient that helps retain skin elasticity and protects against degeneration.
Mango seed butter to moisturize, condition and protect against free radical damage.
And licorice root extract to brighten the appearance of dark circles and discoloration.
It’s also a great multi-tasker, as it doubles up as a contour/highlighter for when you want a more glamorous look.
This vegan, dermatologist-tested, and cruelty-free concealer is easy to blend and provides a flawless matte finish that stays put all day long.
Tarte’s products are also always free from Parabens, Mineral Oil, Phthalates, Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Gluten.
- Gives skin a firmer, smoother, and more lifted look
- Offers full matte coverage for dark spots and imperfections
- Enriched with natural ingredients that hydrate, brighten, and condition
- Protects against free radical damage
- Doubles up as a contour/highlighter
- The applicator can get a little messy
Best Cruelty-Free Concealer Buying Guide
Concealer, just like skincare, needs to be chosen based on your skin type.
If you have dry skin, opt for a hydrating concealer, and avoid those that claim to mattify as this will only emphasize your dry patches.
Oily types should avoid concealers that are ‘creamy’ and enriched with oils, and in contrast to dry skin, oily skin types will benefit from a mattifying concealer.
If you struggle with acne, creamy concealers may clog your pores and further aggravate breakouts rather than conceal them.
However, creamy concealers do provide full coverage and are great for areas that need more correction, like the sides of the nose and corners of the mouth.
In terms of the formula type, liquid concealers are best suited to all skin types, and work especially well for mature skin, as they’re more pliable.
They’re also good for that delicate under-eye area, as they’re less likely to sink into the thin and wrinkled skin and crease up.
Cream-to-powder concealers have great staying power and can be used for long-lasting, buildable coverage.
However, the drawback of these concealer types is that they can be prone to creasing, as the powder finish sinks into those fine under-eye lines more.
Choosing the right color
You’re not alone if you struggle to find a concealer to match your skin tone, as I’ve had this issue myself.
However, the good news is that more and more brands are taking into account the skin’s undertones as well as the overtone.
You should consider this when selecting your shade - for example, is your undertone cool, warm, neutral, or olive?
Do you have more yellow and green undertones or red and pink ones?
Finding the perfect shade takes a little bit of experimentation, and some people may even need to use several different shades to get the perfect match.
Depending on how much you tan, you may also need to opt for a lighter or darker shade depending on the season.
The color of your concealer also depends on where you’re using it.
For the under-eye area, you should select a shade of concealer that's no more than one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone as this will give you an instant brightening effect without giving you a pale raccoon-eye look!
For the rest of your face, you can use a shade closer to your foundation, and, for highlighting or contouring purposes, you’ll want the concealer to be lighter or darker than your skin, depending on whether you’re trying to define or highlight.
Coverage and finish
As we say, there are lots of different concealer types out there, and if you’re new to concealer you may be wondering what’s meant by coverage and finish.
Full coverage concealer is for covering up the more obvious dark spots like under-eye circles and blemishes, whereas lighter coverage or natural coverage concealers are for those lucky individuals who just need a dab of concealer here and there.
Satin finish concealers illuminate and highlight the skin, giving that glowy or dewy effect, whereas matte finish concealers do the opposite of this, and are designed to blend in with your skin and give shine-free coverage.
Which finish you go for is a matter of preference more than anything, however, those with dry skin are best suited to satin finish concealers, and those with oily skin are best suited to mattifying concealers.
If you have ‘normal’ or combination skin, you can go for either, or use a combination!
- Before applying your concealer, it’s always best to start with a clean, dry face. Use a lightweight moisturizer and if you wish, a foundation or primer to lay down a base for the rest of your makeup. As with your concealer, make sure you’re using products suited to your skin, so if you have oily skin, a lightweight fluid with a soft, mattifying effect will work best.
- Some people apply concealer first and foundation second, whereas others do it the other way around. It’s completely up to you which one you chose, as there’s no right or wrong way unless you’re using powder, in which case it’s best to apply this after the concealer to set the liquid.
- When it comes to applying your concealer, you can use your finger, a brush, or a sponge to dab the fluid onto dark spots, discolorations, and blemishes and blend it out gently until there are no lines between your skin and your concealer.
- If you’re applying concealer to your undereye area to disguise dark circles, try using a concealer that has a radiant finish to illuminate the area. Or, alternatively, add a little bit of highlighter on top for a light-reflective finish that will further disguise dark circles.
- It’s a good idea to set your concealer with a light dusting of pressed or loose powder, though this isn’t necessary if you’re using a matte finish concealer as it may make it appear dry and cakey.
- Again, experimentation is key! Try different concealers, different application techniques, and different combinations of concealer and powder to see what makes your concealer last the longest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is concealer used for?
Concealer is basically used for covering imperfections on your face.
These can include under-eye circles, dark spots, pimples, and imperfections, redness and blemishes, and even scars or other marks you may be self-conscious about.
Concealer gives more targeted coverage, whereas foundation is applied all over the face and provides a more even, all-over coverage.
Where should I apply concealer?
You should apply concealer wherever you feel it’s needed.
The most common areas are those prone to redness, so the sides of the nose and around the mouth area, as well as various spots on the T-zone.
It’s also used under the eyes to disguise dark circles and can be used to target dark spots more generally to give a brighter and more even complexion.
Can you wear concealer alone?
In fact, concealer works really well when used alone to target dark spots and circles, and it’s ideal if you don’t like wearing foundation, as it allows you to conceal imperfections while maintaining a natural look overall.
In some ways, I believe concealer is more important than foundation, and if I had to choose one I'd definitely choose concealer, as it provides full, long-lasting coverage and a little goes a very long way.
It’s also great if you just want to use a BB or CC cream during the summer for a more lightweight feel.
Last update on 2021-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API